By Martha Ullman West
At Mississippi Pizza a week ago last Friday, I saw one of the most musical dance performances I’ve seen in years, delivered with all her heart by a dancer named Sadie (last name unknown), age about five, as she was propelled to her feet by the equally heartfelt music of the Backyard Blues Boys.
Pigtails flying, jumping up and down in perfect rhythm, spinning around at will — children are marvelous improvisers — this little girl could have had no idea, or at least I hope had no idea, what the musicians were playing and singing about in songs like Saint James Infirmary and their own Rainy Day Blues. What she did know was that that sound, those rhythms, compelled her to move.
So what do we mean when we say a dancer is musical?